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What is NFT Gaming? NFT Games Explained

Welcome to the exhilarating world of NFT gaming. If you've ever found yourself wondering, "What is NFT gaming?", you're not alone. This burgeoning frontier in the gaming universe is generating waves, transforming how we perceive value, ownership, and rewards in digital landscapes. At its core, NFT in gaming represents a paradigm shift, a bridge between tangible assets and the virtual worlds we love and inhabit.

So, what's the NFT gaming meaning? NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are unique digital assets verified using blockchain technology. Unlike traditional in-game items which you 'rent' as part of your gameplay, NFTs are items you truly own. They can be traded, sold, or even showcased as collectibles outside the confines of the game itself.

As we delve deeper into the universe of NFT in gaming, we'll explore how these digital assets are shaping the future of interactive entertainment, providing players with unparalleled autonomy and opportunities. Whether you're a seasoned gamer, a curious observer, or a digital enthusiast, this is a journey you won't want to miss. Join us as we demystify the world of NFT gaming, unveiling its potential and what it signifies for the future of digital play.

What is an NFT in simple terms?

An NFT, or Non-Fungible Token, is like a unique digital certificate of authenticity. Imagine a one-of-a-kind trading card or a limited-edition piece of art, but in the digital world. It proves you own a specific, unique item or piece of content online, and it can't be perfectly copied or replaced. Just as no two original paintings are exactly alike, each NFT is distinct and can't be swapped on a one-for-one basis with another.

What defines and makes NFTs are smart contracts. NFTs are tied to a smart contract system which is a program designed to automatically carry out a contract. These contracts are mutual agreements and obligations tied to both parties in a transaction. The details and transactions involving an NFT can be publicly viewed, which acts as proof of authenticity and a certificate of ownership. Additionally, unlike cryptocurrencies, they are properties that cannot be swapped for identical ones; each one’s metadata is unique. 

Not every NFT has the same use; they can either be collectible items or have certain utilities in various applications. They might have similar art styles but different attributes, or vice versa. As such, NFTs can be a part of an art collection or a series of characters that can be used in a game.

Why would anyone buy an NFT?

People might wonder why they should buy an NFT when they can just take a screenshot of an NFT image and use it wherever they please. The thing is, owning an NFT means that the owner has the original and unique copy of an asset. It is just the same as owning a physical and original piece of artwork by a famous artist. People can just buy copies of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, but the value lies in the real thing. This can be applied identically to NFTs. They are valuable because they are unique, and people can actually prove that they own a digital asset. 

On top of that, NFT assets have utility besides being collectible. The majority of valuable NFTs are expensive because of their utility, such as a high-quality NFT character or a rare NFT item in a game. 

They can even be used as access tokens for limited events or applications. The other expensive NFT assets can be in the form of digital art by notable artists. Many artists who were already creating digital artwork benefited highly from NFTs since they were able to sell the original piece without the help of physical mediums.

How are NFTs connected to blockchain technology?

NFTs and blockchain technology are intrinsically linked. Here's a simplified breakdown of their connection:

  • Foundation: NFTs are built on blockchain platforms. A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions in a secure and transparent manner across many computers.
  • Uniqueness: The blockchain verifies the uniqueness of an NFT. While many digital files can be easily copied (like photos or music files), the blockchain ensures that an NFT is one-of-a-kind. It does this by assigning a unique code to each NFT and registering it on the ledger.
  • Ownership: Blockchain verifies and records ownership. When you buy an NFT, the transaction is recorded on the blockchain, proving you are the current owner. If you sell the NFT, the new ownership is also recorded, creating a traceable history of that particular NFT.
  • Security: Since blockchains are decentralized and spread across many computers (or nodes), they are resistant to tampering. This means the authenticity and ownership records of NFTs are very secure.
  • Transferability: The decentralized nature of blockchain allows for peer-to-peer transactions. This means NFTs can be bought, sold, or traded without the need for a central authority or intermediary.

In essence, blockchain technology provides the foundation, security, and validation mechanisms that make NFTs possible. Without blockchain, we wouldn't have a trusted system to confirm the uniqueness and ownership of these digital assets.

What is an NFT Game?

An NFT game, often referred to within the emerging "play-to-earn" model, is a video game that incorporates Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into its gameplay and economy. 

Here's a breakdown of how NFT games operate:

  • Digital Ownership: Traditional video games often have in-game items, like weapons, skins, or characters, but players typically don't "own" these items in any tangible sense. In contrast, in an NFT game, these in-game items are tokenized as NFTs on a blockchain, providing players with verifiable digital ownership.
  • Trade and Monetization: Because players have actual ownership of their in-game NFTs, they can trade, sell, or even lease them in digital marketplaces outside of the game. This can potentially lead to real-world profits for players.
  • Interoperability: Some NFTs can be used across multiple games. This means a sword you earn or buy in one game might be usable in another, provided both games support that particular NFT.
  • Scarcity and Value: Just like limited-edition merchandise in the real world, some NFTs in games are rare. This rarity, combined with demand, can drive value. A unique dragon, for example, might become a sought-after collector's item.
  • Play-to-Earn: This model shifts the gaming paradigm. Instead of just playing for fun or spending money on in-game items, players can earn valuable NFTs through gameplay, which they can then keep, trade, or sell.

Related Contents: 

What is a Play-to-Earn Game?

A Complete Beginner's Guide to Play-to-Earn (P2E) Games

NFT games are reshaping the gaming industry, creating new opportunities and challenges. They provide novel ways for players to engage with games, offering both entertainment and potential economic benefits.

The Involvement of NFTs in Gaming

NFTs are already being implemented on gaming platforms nowadays, and countless game developers are branching out their games to include NFTs. NFTs will surely be an integral part of the gaming ecosystem in the future. 

It is only a matter of time until the AAA game studios integrate blockchain NFT assets and cryptocurrencies into their upcoming highly anticipated games. This will be a move that will initiate the shift in the gaming industry for you to become the sole owners of your hard-earned assets in games.

Even though NFTs are being incorporated into games slowly but surely, they are not completely a new system that you are unfamiliar with. You are already pre-adapted to owning in-game assets. Purchasing a skin or a limited experience boost is basically owning an asset in-game without the blockchain part, which means they are not entirely player-owned. 

You do not have control of the things you have bought in-game other than using them digitally. This is where blockchain and crypto wallets come in. If every in-game asset that you bought were a token, you could have traded, exchanged, sold, and bought these assets from other players using decentralized marketplaces and stored them in your digital crypto wallets.

Related Content: What is MetaMask?

How do NFT games work?

The inclusion of NFT assets in games will surely bring more value to the gaming industry. Each transaction for cosmetic items, playable characters, and wearable equipment will be an income for both the developers and the blockchain network. There will be a self-sufficient economy for each game and platform that incorporates its own tokens and assets into the project. Currently, a play-to-earn system is mainly used in order to create this economy.

You can earn in-game tokens by using your purchased NFTs to return your investment. This can be done in many different ways. The majority of games require an NFT character or an NFT item to start playing. By simply doing in-game activities and progressing through various game modes, the game will reward you with its native token. Generally, the reward you get is dependent on the rarity and quality of the NFT you own and use in the game. 

Additionally, some games even allow their NFT assets to be staked for further profits. Of course, you cannot earn constantly just from buying and using an NFT in the game. Many games require more investment in order for you to progress further. This creates a cycle where everyone involved is constantly earning to buy NFTs, spending tokens to enter in-game events, and trading items in order to create an economy.

Another advantage of owning NFT assets is that they aren’t necessarily tied to a certain project. This case is the same in the blockchain gaming world. 

If Sky Mavis, the developer of one of the most popular blockchain games ever, Axie Infinity, were to release another game, they could choose to include the same NFT characters called Axies in the new game. This will broaden the range of NFTs and their utility in the platform, ultimately raising their initial value. 

So, to summarize, there are many strengths of NFT assets in gaming; the advantage of actually owning it, the uniqueness of the item (even if some game NFTs such as armors may look the same, they have different stats, for example), the utilitarian nature of assets that are not being tied to one project, and the permanency of the assets. 

Traditional in-game purchases are one-time-only deals most of the time; they are non-transferable, and you lose all of your purchases when a game shuts down. NFTs operate outside of the game or an application and can exist without relying on any of them.

What are in-game NFTs?

In-game NFTs are digital assets used within video games that are tokenized as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) on a blockchain. These tokens provide verifiable proof of ownership, authenticity, and rarity for in-game items. Here's a closer look at in-game NFTs: 

Types of In-Game NFTs:

  • Characters: Players might own unique avatars or characters as NFTs, each with its distinct attributes, appearances, or skills.
  • Weapons & Equipment: These can range from rare swords to special armor, each possibly having unique abilities or aesthetics.
  • Land & Real Estate: In virtual worlds, players might buy, sell, or develop plots of virtual land as NFTs.
  • Collectibles: Special tokens or items that players can collect, showcase, or trade.
  • Art & Decor: Items used to personalize a player's in-game space, house, or avatar.

Ownership and Transferability: 

Unlike traditional in-game items that players "rent" or use under a license from the game developer, in-game NFTs are genuinely owned by the player. This ownership means players can trade, sell, or showcase these NFTs outside the game on various digital marketplaces.

Related Content: Blockchain Gaming and Decentralized Governance: Empowering Players' Voice

Proven Rarity: 

Blockchain ensures that the scarcity of a particular in-game NFT is transparent and verifiable. This scarcity often dictates the perceived value of an item.


Some in-game NFTs can be utilized across different games or digital platforms. For instance, a helmet earned in one game might be wearable in another game if both support the same NFT standards.

Enhanced Gaming Experience: 

In-game NFTs can provide players with unique gameplay experiences, allowing for personalized story arcs, abilities, or aesthetics based on the NFTs they possess.

In summary, in-game NFTs represent a fusion of gaming and blockchain technology, allowing for real ownership, trade, and value appreciation of digital assets within the gaming universe. They introduce a new dimension to gaming, where digital items can have tangible value and significance both inside and outside the game world.

What are the benefits of NFT Games?

NFT games, with their integration of blockchain technology and play-to-earn models, present a range of benefits for both developers and players.

Here are some of the primary advantages of NFT games:

  • True Digital Ownership: Players genuinely own their in-game items as NFTs, allowing them to have control over their digital assets. They can decide to keep, trade, sell, or even transfer them to other games (if supported).
  • Monetization Opportunities for Players: The play-to-earn model offers players a chance to earn real-world value from their in-game activities. Skilled or dedicated players can potentially earn a significant income by trading or selling rare and valuable in-game NFTs.
  • Increased Player Engagement: The potential to earn and the genuine ownership of items can lead to increased engagement and investment from players. They might spend more time in-game to acquire valuable NFTs or engage more deeply with game ecosystems.
  • Interoperability: NFTs can sometimes be used across multiple games or platforms. This interoperability allows assets from one game to have value or utility in another, creating a broader digital ecosystem.
  • Innovative Game Design: With NFTs, developers can design new gameplay mechanics, narratives, and systems centered around the unique attributes of tokenized assets. This can lead to fresh and novel gaming experiences.
  • Direct Peer-to-Peer Transactions: Blockchain facilitates direct transactions between players without the need for intermediaries. This can streamline trade and reduce associated costs.
  • Proof of Rarity and Authenticity: Blockchain provides verifiable proof of the rarity and authenticity of in-game items. Players can be certain about the uniqueness and origin of their assets.
  • New Revenue Streams for Developers: Beyond the traditional game purchase or in-app purchase model, developers can earn from facilitating NFT marketplaces, initial NFT sales, or even a percentage from secondary sales in some cases.
  • Community Empowerment: Developers can involve their community in decision-making processes, like voting on game updates or directions, using token-based governance models. This can foster a stronger and more loyal player base.
  • Immutable History: Every transaction involving NFTs gets recorded on the blockchain, ensuring an unchangeable history of the asset, including its ownership, origin, and sale prices.

While NFT games offer these advantages, they also come with challenges and controversies, especially concerning the environmental impact of blockchain and the speculative nature of some NFT markets. As the industry matures, it will be crucial to address these concerns to realize the full potential of NFT gaming.

Can You Make Money Playing NFT Games?

Yes, you can make money playing NFT games, especially with the rise of the "play-to-earn" model. However, the potential to earn varies based on the game, the player's skills, time commitment, and market demand for the in-game assets.

Here's how players can earn from NFT games:

  • Earning In-Game NFTs: Some games reward players with NFTs for completing specific tasks, achieving milestones, or as part of gameplay mechanics. These NFTs can then be sold or traded.
  • Trading and Speculation: Just as people trade stocks or cryptocurrencies, players can buy, hold, and sell in-game NFTs based on their perceived future value. Some players make profits by speculating on the rise of specific in-game assets.
  • Leasing or Renting Assets: Players who own valuable NFTs, such as rare characters or tools, might lease or rent them to other players for a fee.
  • Staking or Investing: Some NFT games or platforms offer staking mechanisms, where players can lock up their game tokens or assets to earn rewards or dividends.
  • Virtual Real Estate: In virtual world games, players can buy, develop, and then rent or sell virtual land or properties. As these virtual worlds grow in popularity, the demand for virtual real estate can also increase.
  • Affiliate or Referral Programs: Some games offer referral bonuses for bringing in new players or for facilitating certain in-game transactions.
  • Content Creation: Skilled or charismatic players can earn by streaming their gameplay, creating game guides, or producing other content related to the NFT game.

In summary, while there are opportunities to earn money in NFT games, success often requires strategy, understanding, and sometimes a bit of luck. It's crucial for players to do their research, be wary of too-good-to-be-true promises and approach the play-to-earn model with informed caution.

Can I lose money playing NFT games?

Absolutely, just as you can make money playing NFT games, you can also lose money. Here are some reasons and ways players might face financial losses:

  • Market Volatility: The value of NFTs can be highly volatile, influenced by both in-game dynamics and broader market trends. An NFT purchased at a high price might drop in value, leading to potential losses if sold at a lower price.
  • Initial Investment: Some NFT games require players to buy starter packs or initial assets to participate. If these assets depreciate in value or if the player doesn't recover their investment through gameplay, they may face losses.
  • Scams and Fraud: As with many emerging markets, the NFT gaming space has seen its share of scams. Fake listings, fraudulent games, or phishing attempts can lead to direct financial losses.
  • Technical Issues: Smart contracts, which underpin many NFT transactions, can have vulnerabilities. If exploited, players might lose their assets.
  • Project Abandonment: Not all NFT games will succeed. If a game's development is abandoned or if it fails to gather a substantial player base, in-game assets might become worthless.
  • Poor Decisions or Lack of Skill: Just as skill can lead to earnings, a lack of skill or poor in-game decisions can lead to losses, especially in games where player-vs-player trading or competition affects asset values.
  • Gas Fees: On some blockchains, like Ethereum (at least before broad adoption of scaling solutions), transactions come with "gas fees." If a player frequently trades or transacts, these fees can add up, especially during network congestion.
  • Liquidity Issues: Even if an NFT is theoretically valuable, it might be hard to sell if there aren't many interested buyers or if the marketplace isn't liquid.
  • Regulatory Risks: The legal landscape for NFTs and cryptocurrency is still evolving. Changes in regulations or crackdowns on certain aspects of the space could impact the value or liquidity of in-game NFTs.
  • Speculative Bubbles: Like other assets, NFTs can go through speculative bubbles. If players buy in during peak hype, they might face losses when the bubble bursts.

Given these risks, it's crucial for players to approach NFT games with caution. It's advisable to:

  • Research thoroughly before making investments.
  • Diversify assets if spending significant amounts.
  • Use secure wallets and follow best practices for online security.
  • Avoid making impulsive decisions based on hype or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
  • Stay informed about the game's development, community sentiment, and broader market trends.

Remember, while the potential rewards might be enticing, the risks are real, and not all players will profit in the NFT gaming space.

Are there any mainstream games that have NFT integration?

Many major game publishers are already creating collectible NFT items linked to their most popular IPs, and it is only about time that they transition into NFT assets that are actually useable in their games. Fighting games or Action Games can easily include and sell their characters with unique attributes as NFTs, or shooters can sell various gun and character skins that are exclusive in their patterns and looks as NFTs.

Despite some game developers being reluctant to enter blockchain networks and NFTs because of the backlash that gamers showed towards certain NFT projects, there is a slow shift in the gaming industry where developers are trying out NFTs and building new systems. This drives most people to gradually adapt to the blockchain world.

Big game publishers and developers are divided on where to stand on NFTs. There are several companies like Electronic Arts, Konami, and Capcom who are already talking about and implementing NFT items into their products, while Square Enix, Epic Games, and Valve are being silent or cautious about NFTs. Ubisoft already had a shot at NFTs with their own, called Quartz. Unless there is a sudden loss of confidence despite all the advantages and innovations of the crypto world in the near future, we will see many of them slowly transitioning and including NFTs in their platforms and games.

Are There Free NFT Games?

Yes, there are free NFT games available. These games often operate on a "freemium" model, where the base game is free, but players can purchase or invest in in-game assets or NFTs for additional features, advantages, or customization.

Here's how free NFT games typically work:

  • Free Entry with Optional Purchases: Players can start playing without any initial investment. However, as they progress, they might encounter opportunities (or temptations) to buy in-game NFTs that can enhance their experience, provide cosmetic upgrades, or give competitive advantages.
  • Earn as You Play: Some free NFT games allow players to earn NFTs or in-game tokens as they play, achieve milestones, or complete specific challenges. These assets can potentially be sold or traded in secondary markets, offering a play-to-earn model.
  • Staking or DeFi Integration: Some games might offer DeFi (Decentralized Finance) elements where players can stake their in-game tokens to earn rewards or yield. While the base game is free, these DeFi features might cater more to players who have or are willing to invest some capital.
  • Referral Bonuses: To grow their user base, some free NFT games offer bonuses or rewards for referring new players.
  • Advertisements and Sponsorships: Just like many free mobile or online games, free NFT games might incorporate advertisements or sponsored content as a revenue source, allowing them to offer the game for free to players.

A few examples of NFT games (as of my last training data in September 2021) that have free entry or elements include "Axie Infinity" (although the barrier to entry has increased over time, community initiatives sometimes help new players start without upfront costs), "Lost Relics", and "The Sandbox". The gaming landscape, especially in the NFT space, evolves rapidly, so new titles and platforms are emerging regularly.

However, while these games might be free to start, players should be aware of potential costs down the line, whether it's from direct in-game purchases or from transaction fees ("gas fees") associated with blockchain actions. Always do thorough research before diving deep into any game, especially if there's a financial component involved.

Popular NFT games

Diving into the dynamic universe of online gaming, certain titles have risen above the rest, capturing the attention of players globally. Here's a curated list of the most popular NFT games currently making waves in the digital realm. Let's delve in!

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a turn-based battler where you can collect and form teams of NFT creatures called Axies and participate in battles against enemies and other players. The main principle of the game is very similar to older Pokemon games; you can find and catch Axies, breed and grow them, participate in battles, and trade them.


Splinterlands features epic card battles where you can create decks on the fly with their NFT cards before entering competitive matches. The battles take place automatically and feature different types and classes that allow for various playstyles.

Alien Worlds

Alien Worlds immerses you in a world where you have to control the limited resources of its universe. It is a metaverse that is an economy simulator where you use NFT cards to maintain your organization. You can mine planets to earn the game’s own cryptocurrency. In order to start mining, you need to buy NFT land cards.

DeFi Kingdoms

DeFi Kingdoms is a role-playing game that takes place in a pixel art world where you create your own NFT characters and participate in different missions and professions. The game world has its own market, bank, and shops.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a metaverse game that is made and crafted by you. You can create your own NFT avatars, enter the virtual world, and start building. The game uses entirely user-generated content and creates its own ecosystem according to players' wishes. You are free to craft whatever you please.

Gods Unchained

Gods Unchained is a strategy card game where you can collect NFT cards from different sets and build their decks to battle other players. You can utilize different gods to suit their playstyle. Its user interface is very similar to other digital trading card games, such as Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone.


Pegaxy is a mech-horse racing game where you can own Pega horse NFTs and compete against other players in various races. Horses have different elemental variables, and they are upgradeable. Horse NFTs can be rented or bought. You can try the game out or invest in a horse and generate profits over time.


As the digital and tangible worlds continue to intertwine, NFT gaming stands as a testament to this harmonious fusion. These games are not just reshaping the future of online entertainment; they are redefining our understanding of value, ownership, and community in the digital age.

As we venture further into this brave new world, one thing remains certain: NFT gaming is not just a fleeting trend, but a transformative movement that will shape the gaming industry for years to come. Whether you're a player, developer, or spectator, the journey has just begun, and the possibilities are boundless.


What is NFT Gaming? NFT Games Explained


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